Stowmarket drug-driver banned from road after colliding with Ipswich wedding shop

Scenes like this are becoming less common in Suffolk as the number of people killed or seriously inj

Scenes like this are becoming less common in Suffolk as the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads fell by 17% between 2013 and 2014. - Credit: Archant

A drug-driver who was at the wheel of a Mitsubishi towing a speedboat when it collided with an Ipswich bridal shop has been disqualified from driving.

Simon Gale, of Charles Industrial Estate, Stowmarket, told Ipswich magistrates he had suffered a seizure which caused him to crash in Norwich Road on June 16.

The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to drug-driving and possession of cannabis when he made his first appearance on the charges at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Gale denied a third charge of careless driving which was subsequently withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.

After entering his guilty pleas Gale told the court: “I’ve disqualified myself (from driving) on health grounds because the accident was caused by a seizure.

“I stopped driving as soon as that accident occurred, knowing I’m not fit to drive.”

He added that previously his driving record over 27 years had been “absolutely perfect”.

The incident occurred at 10.20am when Gale’s silver Mitsubishi Shogun was towing the speedboat.

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The Shogun was travelling out of Ipswich at the time and went across the road before colliding with the Just A Day wedding shop located on the corner of Orford Street.

Tamzin Sharp, prosecuting, said when police arrived at the scene an officer conducted a roadside drug test which indicated a positive reading.

Police also seized a small amount of herbal cannabis from the central console inside the Mitsubishi.

A subsequent test showed the proportion of cannabis in Gale’s blood was 4.9 per litre. The legal limit for drugs was said to be two.

Mrs Sharp said Gale could not account for why he had crashed, but said he was a regular user of cannabis.

The court heard Gale had previous conviction for production of drugs in February last year.

Gale, representing himself, said he had been a builder for 25 years and contested the amount of £5,500 he had been told the shop front had cost to replace due to the damage caused.

He said: “I went out to check the damage. It was just scuffs on the front bumper (of my car). It hadn’t collided with the shop at all hard. All it did was scrape the shop frontage.”

Gale said his seizures had previously been caused by alcohol.

Magistrates disqualified Gale from driving for 17 months and ordered him to pay fines and costs totalling £485.

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